Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Review
Complete Value for Money Cruiser BikeTuesday, October 22, 2013
Design and Style
Royal Enfield Thunderbird is exclusively crafted for Indians. The bike has been a huge hit ever since its launch. Royal Enfield displayed the 500cc variant of this bike for the first time at Delhi Auto Expo 2012. Now, they have officially launched this variant and expect the brand Thunderbird to reach new heights of success.
Design and Style
The original design of Thunderbird remains the same. Royal Enfield has made minor changes in this bike which are hard to notice at first glance. The bike lacks visor and cowl and with its upraised handlebar, it looks like a true cruiser bike when seen from the front. It has a circular LED projector type headlight which has never been seen before in any Enfield bike. Tiny round shaped side indicators are placed on the both sides of this headlight. Its hand levers and naked instrument dials are chrome finished. This new variant has beefy front forks which along with its short front fender makes it look macho and aggressive.
Move to the side of this bike and you will notice the familiar long and heavy chrome silencer. Its huge fuel tank sports a 3D logo and classic black styling on it. This new variant features split seat and backrest for the rear passenger. Side panel of this bike features its name while the tool box is chrome finished which is placed just next to the rear suspension. Thunderbird 500 became the first Enfield bike to get rear disk brake and LED tail light. The chain drive is placed on the right side while the disc brake is placed on the left side which is a unique characteristic of this bike. Its rear fender is compact and wide and sports hazard light and big side indicators on it.
Commendable changes are made in this department. This is the only bike in Royal Enfield family which features a combined analogue-digital meter console. The twin circular dials are surrounded by chrome rings and uses blue color for illumination. It has an analogue speedometer and tachometer while it has LCD for its digital odometer, clock, 2-tripmeter, and fuel gauge. The dial which houses tachometer also features other LED indicators.
Engine and Gearbox
The bike shares its engine with the recently launched Classic 500. It’s a single-cylinder, 4-stroke 500cc engine. This Twin spark, air cooled engine churns out a power output of 27.2 bhp at 5250 rpm. The torque output arrives at 4000 rpm which is of 41.3 Nm. The five-speed manual gearbox of Classic 500 makes its way to this bike and works on a one gear down and four gears up-shift pattern.
Acceleration and Performance
Undoubtedly, this is the most powerful variant of Thunderbird. The bike feels far impressive than ever before. With this engine, we feel the cruising abilities of this bike have taken a big leap forward. It’s a very responsive bike especially at slow speeds. The heavy amount of torque helps it to move easily in city traffic. The gear ratios are well matched with this bike and you need less gear shifts than before. It constantly urges you to take it on highways as it feels best when you push it hard. The high speed cruising comes without any vibrations and harshness. The refinement level of this engine is commendable. Overtaking is also very easy with this bike and it can easily cross the speed mark of 130km/hr. The only complaint we have is its heavy weight. In city traffic and with a pillion rider, sometime you will feel the actual weight of this bike. Otherwise, there are no major concerns related to its performance.
The bike isn’t impressive when it comes to fuel economy. Expect it to return a mileage of around 30km/ltr on highways while these figures get reduced in city traffic.
Comfort while Driving
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 has a highly cushioned seat which even offers nice under-thigh support. The split seat and rear backrest for pillion rider makes it the most comfortable bike for two people. Thunderbird is equipped with a vibration free wide and angled handlebar. It gives the most important, cruising feel to the rider. You also get a firm palm grip with high quality of plastic buttons and engine kill switch on its handlebar. Its front-set foot pegs adds to the comfort ability of this bike. The knees always stay free and relaxed.
Storage Space and Safety Features
There is almost no storage space apart from its tool box. Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 comes fitted with front leg guard, pass button and powerful halogen headlight for your safety.
Suspension and Brakes
The suspension and braking system of Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 is specially designed keeping its heavyweight (195kgs) in mind. It sports front telescopic forks of 41mm and twin gas charged rear shock absorbers. As far as its braking is concerned, this new variant features disc brakes on its both wheels. It has a front disc brake of 280mm while it has a rear disc brake of 240mm.
Ride and Handling
The new braking and suspension system has improved its ride and handling significantly. This heavy machine now feels more stable and under control at high speeds. Its suspension and rear wide tyre gives you a good grip of roads. Its wheelbase (1350mm) and ground clearance of 140mm helps it to turn easily. However in city traffic, you can’t move frequently as it lacks stability while turning at slow speeds. The bike remains grounded at high speeds and steers as per your need.
Tyre Size, Shades and Variants
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 has spoke wheels of different sizes. It has a 19inch spoke wheel at its front and 18inch wheel at the back. The only variant of this bike is available in three different shades of black.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 is priced at INR 1.60lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi (approx., may vary)) which makes it almost 30K costlier than its regular variant. This bike has its own league and it’s not meant for every other bike rider. Yes, it certainly feels overpriced but to compensate, company has stuffed this bike with many new features and a powerful engine. It’s a complete value for money bike for those who are hard-core fans of Thunderbird and loves comfortable and high speed cruising.